Power problems


This morning's online and print news was filled with National Grid's warning its capacity to supply electricity this winter will be at a seven-year low due to generator closures and breakdowns.

Gas supplies are said to be in a strong position this winter, with gas supplies, storage and network capacity well in excess of maximum expected demand.

This year electricity margins have decreased compared to recent years, with the average cold spell (ACS) margin expected to be 4.1%.

Three years ago the margin was 17%.

In response, National Grid is finalising contracts with three power stations to provide additional reserve under Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR).

Cordi O’Hara, director of market operation, said: “The Winter Outlook Report provides the energy market with a snapshot of the potential gas and electricity picture for the coming winter.

“Our analysis shows gas supplies to be in a strong position. Supply sources are diverse, network capacity is healthy and gas storage is well stocked.

“The electricity margin has decreased compared to recent years, but the outlook remains manageable and well within the reliability standard set by government.

“As System Operator, we have taken the sensible precaution to secure additional tools to bolster our response to tighter margins.

“We will continue to keep a close watching brief across both electricity and gas throughout the winter so that we’re strongly placed to respond to any unanticipated events.”

Is it time for big firms to switch off their supply overnight - as suggested by National Grid? I would be interested to hear your views.